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  1. manek

    They've been and gone

    First inspection today for 10 days as it’s been too cold to look any earlier. And what I feared has happened: my best colony which produced a massive harvest last year has swarmed. Here’s how it happened: this was brood-and-a-half (super on top). So at the first inspection, I inserted a QX...
  2. manek

    Another lost colony story

    Not starvation nor, as far as I can see, varoosis - no DFW visible, nor mites on bees. Just a thick layer of dead bees on the floor. Almost none on the frames. Hmmmm...
  3. manek

    First swarm of 2020

    My first swarm of the year, anyway. They were clustered around the bottom of a rough fence post with a couple of horizontal posts just shoved through a hole in the vertical. The bees were all around the junction of the horizontals and I suspected, as I brushed bees off the post into my swarm...
  4. manek

    Cover board blocks

    I just 3D printed a few of these custom blocks to fill the holes in cover boards. I don't use Porter escapes so this seemed like an easier path than pinning bits of mesh over the holes.
  5. manek

    Holes in supers

    Intrigued. I started prepping for the new season today: checked through the equipment, including half a dozen drawn supers from last year, all nice and tightly wrapped. Opened up the wrapping and found they all had big holes in the middle. It's not wax moth - there's no sign of that mess they...
  6. manek

    Lost colonies

    This week, I went to check on an apiary I'm looking after on behalf of a company, and found three dead hives. It had been almost a month since my last visit. One I knew about - the blue mouldy bees in the images (one of the frame, the other a close-up), which I need to clear out (please ignore...
  7. manek

    Low varroa drop

    With one hive dropping zero varroa in a week and the other just three over the same period, I'm wondering whether to treat at all. I normally sublimate OA so I don't have to decide right now but it's where I am going at the moment.
  8. manek

    Wrong end of the alphabet

    First inspection of my two hives this month today, aiming to assess storage space for winter food, and check for disease. The first hive was fine, plenty of space to lay and store food. The second was a disaster area. Although I could see bees orienting outside the entrance block, which had...
  9. manek

    Is it petrol time...

    ...or am I being a wimp? I'm up to three colonies now, two of them good as gold, the third, with a recently hatched queen following a swarm, is full of absolute ******s. They've been massively defensive, following for up to 20 minutes, attacking not just me but passers-by and people working...
  10. manek

    Cheap extractor

    I've been noticing the number of cheap extractors on the market recently - I'm fairly new to this so up to now I've relied on others to loan me theirs - and I'm tempted to spring for one. What are the disadvantages of the (roughly) £150 four-frame extractors, size aside? Anyone bought one and...
  11. manek

    One uncapped QC: should I split?

    Spotted just one filled, uncapped QC yesterday, hanging off the bottom of a brood frame, so I've been chewing over whether to do an artificial swarm today - but seeing just a single cell where you might expect several is giving me pause. Should I be hesitating?
  12. manek

    Mobile formatting

    This forym remains formatted for desktops even when viewing it on a mobile. Can this be changed, please?
  13. manek

    First inspection of the year - did I get it right?

    First quick inspection of the year today. I wanted to remove the full-frame feeders I mistakenly left on too long in the autumn and found the bees were building brace comb up into them. But as it happened, this comb was not connecting the feeder to the brood box frames as I suspected which is...
  14. manek

    Hive attack!

    Well, at my first check on the bees after the pre-Christmas vape, they're alive and flying. But on one side of one of my two hives, something has been chipping away at the hive. What do you think?
  15. manek

    New research into bee nutrition

    The whole food diet for bees
  16. manek

    Feeders full of honeycomb: leave it be?

    I went to tuck them up for winter today, hoping to take off those two-pot, full-frame feeders and put fondant and insulation on. But the feeders - those green plastic ones - were almost welded to the brood box by comb full of honey. And of course they were also full of bees. So I left them to...
  17. manek

    Sticky floor

    Guess who managed unknowingly to knock the honey tap open on a large bucket full of thick 2:1 solution today. In the living room.... The sweep is open on how long it took me to clear up the mess when half of it ended up on the floor, under the sofa, you name it. Guesses of under 60 minutes not...
  18. manek

    Thinking ahead to the honey harvest

    I'm getting a bit excited at the prospect of my first honey harvest - the first super is two-thirds full so a second went on yesterday. So I'm thinking ahead about what happens when I steal the girls' treasury (I've been enjoying reading Laline Paull's book The Bees). Specifically, about...
  19. manek

    Two swarms to house today

    I'm about to take delivery of not one but two swarms. Since I don't have two spare hives, I plan to put one swarm in a brood box, the other in a super on top, and leave them there with just a sheet of newspaper between them, hoping they will unite. I guess the queens will fight it out for top...
  20. manek

    Time for a super?

    Today's inspection of my one NS hive: eggs and larvae at all stages seen, one empty uncapped queen cell on a stores frames next to a brood frame, four brood frames, two of undrawn foundation at the front of the hive, two half-drawn, rest are stores. Is it time for a super, given that they don't...